Saturday, September 29, 2012

PAFA MFA1: Week 5

 Lets cut into some painting! Thats how I feel five weeks into the semester--which really means for me it's a third over --already! I still have to meet with my visiting critic Martha Armstrong, which will happen this week and I'm very interested to hear what she has to say about my work and the dialogue that will develop out of it and maybe what effect it will have on my work. I met with Jan Baltzell another one of my critics for the first time this week as well, and we had a good first, "get to know each other" talk.  I feel the first month of school has been so crowded with other events I haven't been able to sink my teeth into painting as much as I hoped. I'm still working but I feel like I'm not fully up to speed. I did stay until about 4am last night working away at a painting---I stopped when I felt I couldn't make any more good decisions.

I suppose its good to be frustrated in a way as that means growth, or at least that's what I am telling myself. I started this painting above from a drawing from a few photos I snapped a while ago, its a really haunting house over in the Oak Lane section of the city---and as soon as I saw it I felt I really wanted to paint it. You can see in the last post the drawing I did first--next I drew the paining onto the canvas looking at my drawing and started painting away, then went back and looked at the original pictures. I am working in a way like Edward Hopper, where he painted from sketches that he did on site, often making extensive notes on color, etc., then also often making many composition changes  in the final work from the actual real place. So I am working in this fashion now and hope this will end up making my paintings stronger.

I am getting back into doing more drawing as well, something I do all of the time for the comic strip, but I've mostly painted in school for a few years. having the drawing class got the juices rolling again on the drawing and I want to do some large scale drawings as well.

 This drawing was for Michael Moore's class. Mike paid me a great compliment by telling me he liked my drawing because it was a drawing he could teach from. I was not feeling it that much myself--but--thanks!It was a bit of a fight on this drawing as the assignment was to draw round into flat, which is a pretty wide open idea and I had to think about how to try and in many ways make a drawing that sort of fought itself in places. Trying to stretch my way of thinking at times makes me feel like in doing an assignment I feel like I am playing or cheating. When I am doing something on my own I might fail, but I don't feel this way. I do enjoy some of the talking in the class as I am a process junkie when it comes to art.
Here are some candid snaps from class as some of my classmates looking at my work. Michael leads the class in the discussion(Below). Eeverybody is usually breyy good about feedback and sharing which makes the crits go better. Nothing worse that a class full of "Silent Susans" when it comes to critiques or class discussions of students work. If the teacher isn't a dynamo then its like pulling teeth---Boring and painful!

Then in class this week Michael had us do two drawings using touch. I was late to class due to oversleeping because of my late night deadlines with the strip, so I cranked out these two drawings. the first was a drawing of the inside of my mouth using my tongue and the second was of my head. I did them as blind contour drawings, moving the pen as I moved my hand or tongue at the same time. For some I think the experiment might have been a new thing, but I actually always think of what I draw in a very sculptural way, feeling the form and mass in my head as I draw.
There are a lot of more traditional drawers this year it seems, less scribblers and drippers. Some work from life and some from imagination but I feel good about the mix we have in class and in the MFA 1 class as a whole.

I have also been enjoying the awesome fall weather here in Philly. Its my favorite time of year and i can't wait to get back out to do some landscape painting!
There was a lot more going on at school as well like James Gurney coming and giving a talk and a demo. I only popped my head in as I taught my Storyboard Class at Uarts the same day, which is where I saw Gurney last year give the same talk. I recommended to Al Gury after seeing Gurney's talk at Uarts that they should ask him to come to PAFA since they are doing a new Illustration concentration at the school. Gurney is a super-nice guy, good artist/illustrator and very good speaker--I know that both the talk and demo went over great with the students.

So the ball keeps on spinning and I keep on running, often late into the night. The feeling at school is certainly different without my old crew hanging around or to share the studio space with, but life is change and you either roll with it or fight it. I think I feel more of an individual, or solo artist than I did before in the gang studio and maybe that's a good thing for my "artist head" as I am seeking new growth.
I was also asked to be one of the students to have lunch with and speak to the scholarship donors this weeks at the Donors Lunch. Along with school President Brigham, Dan Miller, head of the MFA Program and a few students I had a very nice lunch and got to meet and talk to many of the donors who give money to the school which helps students like me who really need the money to be able to attend the school. I gave a brief talk about myself and my work and thanked them for giving the money to the school so students like me can get all the help we need to make the financial ends meet. I was given both a Merit scholarship and Academy Scholarship which really made it possible for me to do the MFA. It was great to talk to donors who were working artists like me who graduated from the school and decided to give what they could back to the school and students. its something I hope I can also do when I graduate in 2 years and make my way as a painter in the churning art waters.